MLS Fantasy Rankings: Week 18
MLS Fantasy Rankings: Week 18

This article is part of our MLS Fantasy Rankings series.

The rankings below are based on Major League Soccer's official fantasy game and cover all games in Week 18. While they can be used for DFS purposes, they are done with a focus on the league's season-long game.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below, or hit up JD on Twitter @dfsMLS.

Forwards

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Carlos VelaLAFC at SKC, v. VAN11.5A match at Sporting Kansas City used to be one of the places you'd think about fading fantasy stars, but the times are a changin'. Vela has two favorable matchups this week.
2Carlos Darwin QuinteroMIN v. SJ, at MTL10.5It's a week where a lot of forwards could claim this second spot but nobody definitively stands out. Minnesota is playing well around Quintero, and he's showing some signs of getting back in form. 
3Alberth ElisHOU v. NYRB, at FCC10.5New York are missing key defensive players to the Gold Cup and FC Cincinnati just got gauged for seven goals. Elis is likely still trying to impress a potential summer buyer, too.
4Josef MartinezATL at CHI, v. NYRB11.0A goal-dependent Martinez is a little tougher to stomach in this massive early double game week, but I think he's a good play if you can pay up.
5Diego RossiLAFC at SKC, v. VAN10.0 
6Alexandru MitritaNYC v. SEA, v. POR8.6 
7Valentin CastellanosNYC v. SEA, v. POR7.5In two matches filling in for Heber, Taty has a pair of goals, and assist, a drawn penalty, eight shots, and has drawn seven fouls. Both opponents are solid, but with the games at Yankee Stadium and our rosters needing some cheaper impact players, this may be too good a price to pass up.
8Chris WondolowskiSJ at MIN, v. RSL7.6 
9Mauro ManotasHOU v. NYRB, at FCC9.0Whether his rest over the past several matches is due to injury or a rumored transfer to Liga MX, Manotas would certainly be an option if he starts on Wednesday night. 
10Kacper PrzybylkoPHI at ORL, v. ORL7.5I've been worried about some rotation with Kacper, but he's fended it off thus far. Orlando have improved defensively, but Sane/Jansson are beatable and Philly have the diverse attacking talent to find the weaknesses.
11Angelo RodriguezMIN v. SJ, at MTL8.5 
12C.J. SapongPHI at ORL, v. ORL7.1 
13Adama DiomandeLAFC at SKC, v. VAN8.0Betting on Dio or Christian Ramirez to start back to back games is never a sure thing, but getting an LAFC forward for $8.0 sure would be nice.
14Tesho AkindeleORL v. PHI, at PHI6.7 
15Sam JohnsonRSL v. CLB, at SJ7.6 
16Nemanja NikolicCHI v. ATL, at SKC8.3He reportedly is leaving Chicago after this season and isn't playing full 90 minute games. He's the better player, but I think we need to trust Sapong more here.
17Romell QuiotoHOU v. NYRB, at FCC7.0 
18Dom DwyerORL v. PHI, at PHI8.0Seemingly healthy following a month long injury absence, and having welcomed a second child to the Dwyer family last week, Dwyer has some feathers in his narrative cap. I wouldn't expect him to start twice, though.
19Justin DhillonSEA at NYC, at CLB5.0Ruidiaz remains in Copa America and Bruin is injured, which leaves Dhillon (a faster version of Will Bruin?) and 17-year old Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez to man the forward spot for Seattle. Dhillon could definitely start both.
20Christian RamirezMIN v. SJ, at MTL7.5 

Midfielders

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Maximiliano MoralezNYC v. SEA, v. POR11.5Chara v Maxi will be a fun one to watch on Sunday. Moralez will get his on Wednesday, though, against a Seattle team missing attackers and Cristian Roldan in the midfield.
2Eduard AtuestaLAFC at SKC, v. VAN11.0Can you approximate Atuesta's production with cheaper midfielders this week? You may need to try with $11.0 being a huge price tag for someone with only one goal this year. His consistent high floor is awesome, but more of a luxury once we build out budget.
3Jamiro MonteiroPHI at ORL, v. ORL9.8Philadelphia's midfield should have it's way with Orlando. Monteiro remains one of my favorite fantasy midfielders and a good solution to the above-mentioned Atuesta conundrum.
4Latif BlessingSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI10.0 
5Albert RusnakRSL v. CLB, at SJ10.1RSL are sitting just one spot outside of the playoffs, may sell Savarino this summer, and aren't nearly the likeliest side to spend on a big summer transfer. With Portland, SKC, and a surging Colorado all threats to pass them, they can't afford to slip up. Rusnak should be leaned on heavily this week.
6NaniORL v. PHI, at PHI10.0 
7Felipe GutierrezSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI9.8With two home games and the team needing to dig themselves out of a last place Western Conference spot, Guti is another good all-around alternative to Atuesta this week.
8Nicolas LodeiroSEA at NYC, at CLB11.0It's ok to be weary of a player with two on the road days after wrapping up Copa America action. While leaving Lodeiro out of a DGW historically has a tragic ending, there's really no need to force him in this week.
9Aleksandar KataiCHI v. ATL, at SKC9.4 
10Ismael Tajouri-ShradiNYC v. SEA, v. POR7.6Another cheap way into what should be a good NYC attack this week.
11Cristian EspinozaSJ at MIN, v. RSL8.6 
12Mark-Anthony KayeLAFC at SKC, v. VAN10.0 
13Pity MartinezATL at CHI, v. NYRB9.8 
14Magnus ErikssonSJ at MIN, v. RSL8.0Eriksson is mildly more likely to play two matches than Vako. The only person that really can replace him in the #10 role is...well, Vako who will likely cede a game to Salinas on the wing.
15Nicolas GaitanCHI v. ATL, at SKC9.1 
16Alexander RingNYC v. SEA, v. POR7.9 
17KakuNYRB at HOU, at ATL9.3With a run of good performances, I'm ready to trust Kaku a bit more at home. On the road to two good teams? Pass.
18Daniel RoyerNYRB at HOU, at ATL8.5 
19Jan GregusMIN v. SJ, at MTL9.0 
20Julian GresselATL at CHI, v. NYRB9.0 

Defenders

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Tommy ThompsonSJ at MIN, v. RSL6.0In addition to just being a flat out great two-way threat, Thompson is sure to rise the full $0.5 in price this week.
2Anton TinnerholmNYC v. SEA, v. POR6.3 
3Eddie SeguraLAFC at SKC, v. VAN6.1LAFC haven't been keeping as many clean sheets lately, and Zimmerman being away at the Gold Cup doesn't help, but they remain one of the league's best teams and could get one in either game this week.
4Steven BeitashourLAFC at SKC, v. VAN6.3 
5Leandro Gonzalez PirezATL at CHI, v. NYRB7.4Fantasy players have short memories, and two games conceding a goal may make everyone forget how dominant Atlanta was defensively at the end of the Spring fantasy season.
6Maxime ChanotNYC v. SEA, v. POR6.8 
7Miles RobinsonATL at CHI, v. NYRB6.7 
8Jack ElliottPHI at ORL, v. ORL6.6After giving up four goals in New York, there's always the risk that Mark Mackenzie gets a start for Elliott or Trusty.
9Auston TrustyPHI at ORL, v. ORL6.0 
10Florian JungwirthSJ at MIN, v. RSL6.5Kashia, not Jungwirth, would be the centerback that suffers with Harold Cummings returning from Gold Cup. Flo has been a big part of San Jose's turnaround.
11Ike OparaMIN v. SJ, at MTL7.0I'll let other people chase the goals (Ike scored two last week) when the cost is $7.0.
12Jordan HarveyLAFC at SKC, v. VAN6.1 
13Franco EscobarATL at CHI, v. NYRB6.4 
14Hassani DotsonMIN v. SJ, at MTL5.0Two goals in three games is nice, but I'd feel more comfortable if he picked up some occasional bonus points.
15Kai WagnerPHI at ORL, v. ORL5.6 
16Justen GladRSL v. CLB, at SJ6.1 
17RuanORL v. PHI, at PHI5.8On the cheap side of these defender rankings, improving defense, and brings some offense as well. If Philly rotates in the first match of this home-and-home series, consider me relatively interested in Ruan.
18Kelvin LeerdamSEA at NYC, at CLB6.5 
19Maynor FigueroaHOU v. NYRB, at FCC5.5 
20Joevin JonesSEA at NYC, at CLB6.5If he had two guaranteed starts he'd fly up my rankings.

Goalkeepers

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Pablo SisniegaLAFC at SKC, v. VAN4.1It's a good bet Tyler Miller isn't back in time for the second match and that'd leave us with a very cheap option behind one of the league's best defenses (Note: Walker Zimmerman also is absent for LAFC).
2Brad StuverNYC v. SEA, v. POR4.4Sean Johnson likely won't return until next week, too. Stuver's games are both at home and Seattle are shorthanded in attack.
3Joe WillisHOU v. NYRB, at FCC5.5FCC have scored just three goals in their past six home games.
4Brad GuzanATL at CHI, v. NYRB5.6 
5Nick RimandoRSL v. CLB, at SJ5.7 
6Daniel VegaSJ at MIN, v. RSL5.5Two very winnable games for the league's hottest team.
7Tim MeliaSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI6.8 
8Jon KempinCLB at RSL, v. SEA4.4Both opponents will be missing their starting strikers, with Zardes at Gold Cup and Ruidiaz still at Copa America. Be wary of keeper rotation here.
9Vito MannoneMIN v. SJ, at MTL5.6 
10Stefan FreiSEA at NYC, at CLB6.5Both Frei and Luis Robles are much more used to being near the top of the rankings, but only one can squeeze in on a week where they play two away fixtures. NYRB are without Parker and Aaron Long in the defense while Frei gets new DP Defender Xavier Arreaga back from Copa America.

Value Rankings

(forwards and midfielders under $7.5, defenders under $6.0; not ranked above)

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1VakoSJ at MIN, v. RSL7.0There's a significant enough rotation risk here that I've ripped him from the top 20 and put him down here so you'll know the risk you're taking. It's likely an unnecessary risk.
2Ilie SanchezSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI7.4A safe source of points with upside as the penalty kick taker for SKC.
3Nicolas HaslerSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI4.0Zusi is due back soon, but there's no reason to rush him back considering his 2019 performances. Hasler is a minimum price, double home game defender with some offense to his game.
4Jhegson MendezORL v. PHI, at PHI7.0If you want 9-10 safe points from a fifth midfielder, Mendez is your guy. Limited goal upside, unfortunately.
5Yohan CroizetSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI5.2With Nemeth in the dog house, Croizet is the next man up to fill the center forward role. SKC are one of only two teams with two home matches this week.
6Daniel SalloiSKC v. LAFC, v. CHI6.2He led SKC in goals last year and should continue to get chances to regain that form while Russell is out and Nemeth is struggling.
7Przemyslaw FrankowskiCHI v. ATL, at SKC7.1 
8Hector JimenezCLB at RSL, v. SEA4.6Jimenez has popped up with some quality performances lately. Still, it's not really enough to make him appealing for fantasy unless you're desperate for a cheap bench.
9Chris MuellerORL v. PHI, at PHI6.9 
10Brian WhiteNYRB at HOU, at ATL6.4BWP is back and ready to poach 20-30 minutes until he's fully fit. White already wasn't a very appealing fantasy play, but he's still cheap and should get 100+ minutes.

Captain Rankings

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Carlos VelaLAFC at SKC, v. VAN11.5LA do have some upcoming fixture congestion, but I doubt Vela rests just yet. He remains a premier captain choice.
2Maximiliano MoralezNYC v. SEA, v. POR11.5All else equal, I'm not sure any fantasy play has pushed Vela this hard for #1 captain ranking all season.
3Eduard AtuestaLAFC at SKC, v. VAN11.0As safe a selection as you'll find, but a clear step down from the top two in terms of upside.
4Carlos Darwin QuinteroMIN v. SJ, at MTL10.5The demolition of FCC shouldn't alone convince you he's back, but Quintero had a nice recent US Open Cup match as well.
5Alberth ElisHOU v. NYRB, at FCC10.5Elis should have very favorable matchups in both of these games. If Gold Cup hasn't worn him down too much, he should jump back into MLS action with a bang.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JD Bazzo
JD is a contributing soccer writer at RotoWire and was a finalist for the 2017 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year award. JD has been writing for RotoWire since 2015. He is a proud Pittsburgh native, purveyor of fantasy sports, and likely the first Penn State Basketball fan you've ever met.
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